The 40th annual San Francisco Marathon takes place on Saturday, July 23rd when 27,000 runners hit the city streets.
The event includes a full 26.2 mile race, two half marathons and a 5K race. All but the 5K are currently sold out. Racers will run across the Golden Gate Bridge, along the Embarcadero, through Crissy Field and Fisherman's Wharf. They will experience numerous city landmarks including AT&T Park, Coit Tower and Golden Gate Park as well as run through The Mission and Haight-Ashbury.
Named one of the best city marathons by numerous magazines and newspapers, the San Francisco Marathon has been enticing runners the world over since 1977 when 1,000 runners finished the inaugural race. For those aspiring to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the San Francisco Marathon is one of the most beautiful places to achieve this goal.
The race also attracted some of the top athletes, including Olympic hopefuls and world-class runners. According to the race website, "In 1984, a week after the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, a handful of Olympic team alternates ran in The San Francisco Marathon. Simeon Kigen — arguably the best road runner in the world at the time but barred from the Kenyan Olympic team because of internal politics — ran in The San Francisco Marathon with a vengeance. He finished with a time of 2:10:18, better than any of his compatriots in the Olympics that year. Kigen’s time still holds the course record.
Two-time Olympic marathoner (1984, 1988) Pete Pfitzinger won The San Francisco Marathon in 1983 and 1986.
In 1984, a female runner no one had heard of before, raced and won her first competitive marathon in San Francisco. Nancy Ditz went on to become a member of the 1988 Olympic Track and Field Team.
Other notable runners include Janis Klecker, who won The San Francisco marathon in 1983 and 1990 and competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics; Maria Trujillo, who won The San Francisco Marathon in 1986, and represented Mexico at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles; Dave Gordon, who ran The San Francisco Marathon in 1984 and competed in the Olympic trials that year, as well as in in 1988; and Massimo Magnani of Italy, who ran The San Francisco Marathon in 1984 and competed in the Summer Olympics in 1976 and 1980. Allison Roe of New Zealand, known in the running community as one of the greatest marathoners of all time, ran The San Francisco Marathon as her last competitive marathon in the mid-1980s."
The San Francisco Marathon also buoys Olympic hopefuls. The Olympic trials window for the 2020 Olympic Games opens in September 2017. San Francisco Marathon runners can compete to qualify in 2018 and 2019. To qualify for the Olympic Trials, men must run 2:19 or faster, and women must run 2:43 or faster. Around 200 people qualify every year, and runners must finish in the top three.